When I lived in Colorado and came to Galveston as a visitor, my favorite place to go was downtown. Now that I live here, it’s still a special place for me, and I am glad I play a part in promoting all it has to offer to others.

And a lot of people who come here feel the same way. Every year, more than 1 million people head downtown to take in 70 blocks of historic architecture, attractions, museums, shops and restaurants.

The CVB marketing staff meets regularly with the Downtown Partnership, made up of business owners and other downtown representatives, to brainstorm about special events, marketing and promotion efforts. After Hurricane Harvey, these efforts have been ramped up with an increase in digital, broadcast, print and social media promotion.

Sometimes, business owners band together to establish their own new events, and the CVB helps to promote them. Two examples are “Sip and Shop” evenings on The Strand and “First Fridays” on Postoffice Street.

Sip and Shop events will take place this Thursday, Nov. 16 and Dec. 14. Upcoming First Friday events will take place Nov. 3 and Dec. 1. Both will offer shoppers extended hours, special discounts and refreshments at participating businesses, just in time for the holiday season.

Speaking of the holidays, the CVB will continue its Winter Wonder Island marketing campaign to promote Galveston as the ideal place to spend this magical time of year. New this year, the CVB will sponsor a Downtown Partnership initiative to decorate the downtown district with large scale lantern and light displays. Its centerpiece is a giant snow globe that visitors can enter for fun photo opportunities they can share on social media.

Wendy Morgan, co-owner of two downtown businesses, Tina’s on The Strand and The Admiralty, said she thinks these marketing efforts, whether it’s through advertising or special events, are keys to a vibrant downtown.

“Special events are an important part of a thriving tourism business,” Morgan said. “We enjoy the vibrancy special events bring to the island. They provide a great opportunity for people to come visit and spend the day or weekend. Overall, we’ve seen such great things happening on Galveston Island and we’ve got nothing but sheer optimism for our future.”

Park board meetings are open to the public and the public may address the board of trustees during the meetings. Park board meetings are typically held on fourth Tuesday of the month at 1:30 p.m. at 601 Tremont St. If you are interested in seeing a park board issue discussed in this column or if you have any questions, please send them my way. I can be reached at mbassett@galvestonparkboard.org.

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.

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